Bristol bound and inked out

October has been brilliantly busy for me, with Inktober through the month and finishing with Bristolcon at the end. It was a wonderful event, and as well as selling some paintings and postcards, my colourful stall even had a mention in a few people’s blogs! (Thank you Sophie and Thomas). To finally see all 5 of the Urban Faerie paintings hanging together in the very city that inspired them gave me a great sense of achievement which has left me creatively fired up to get started on my next series in the new year. Masses of love and thanks to everyone who helped make it possible by babysitting, driving, carrying canvases, chatting to me, buying art and supporting me.

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I tried my best to take part in Inktober this year, but with varying degrees of productivity. I caught a cold, various members of my family got ill and life generally happened. I’m not going to say that I failed it though – even though there are some artists out there that insist if you don’t complete an ink drawing a day you’re not doing it right. I completed a total of 5 ink portraits: one of Aidan Turner as Poldark, one of David Bowie as Jareth and a triptych of David Bowie eyes.  The original paintings of Bowie’s eyes I had beautifully framed and sold at Bristolcon – I don’t call that a failure! If you’d like to have a look at the paintings, or download a digital version of them for yourself, you can find them on my Etsy store  You’ll also find some beautiful prints of the 5 Urban Faeries paintings on there too, and to celebrate their arrival, I’m offering free UK postage on them until next year.

So what’s next? Well I’m finally getting back to work on the comic book that I’m illustrating, which was written by Neil, and then after that, I will begin photographing my models in preparation for my next series. I’m very nervous excited about this series – I can’t say too much about it at this stage, but I think it might divide people like marmite! There will be a total of 7 paintings in the series and as with a lot of my art, they will explore our relationships with ourselves, environment and each other. It is my hope these paintings will invite the viewer to question the things we do, things we don’t do and what type of relationships they think they are seeing. Stay tuned!

 

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Competition Time – UPDATED

The competition has now closed and the lucky winner is…..

 

SARAH MILES

Congratulations Sarah!

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It’s time for a competition!

I’ve taken the plunge and have added a page to my website where you can buy prints, postcards and originals of my artwork. To celebrate the launch of my new online store, I would really love to send a free 10″ x 12″ print and a pack of 6 postcards to one of you. All you have to do to enter is tell me which of my paintings on my Gallery page is your favourite and why. Doesn’t have to be an essay – just a few words/lines will do 🙂
Comment below, or  contact me on Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.

Deadline for entry into the competition is May 3rd (midnight GMT). After that I will put names in a hat and randomly select one on May 4th. I will post a short video of me drawing the winning name below, and contact the winner to find out their preferred print and postal address.

I hope you enjoy browsing through the Gallery and Shop and Good Luck!

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Derwent Graphitint Gift

Apart from family, friends, cake and cards, one of the lovely things about having a birthday is being given new art supplies.

This year, my mother-in-law gave me a fantastic set of 12 Derwent Graphitint pencils. Unlike the creamy and smooth watercolour pencils that I’ve previously used, these have a much more textured finish. You can see the pencil marks more clearly on the paper, even after you’ve washed over the graphite with a water brush. They are brilliant for sketching and doing water colour on the go, as you only need a water brush to activate them and don’t have to carry a pot of water with you.

The first thing that struck me when I used the pencils, is how inaccurate the colour swatches on the end of each pencil are. I’d highly recommend doing yourself a sample swatch before using these pencils, as you’ll be surprised at the difference. Here’s mine to illustrate what I mean. Look at the difference in colour of the Storm pencil in particular. On the end of the pencil is a light grey paint, the actual pencil nib is dark grey, and once wet, it is almost a purple colour:

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Don’t they have a wonderful vibrancy once wet?! The Chestnut pencil in particular is much brighter and warmer than when the pencil is dry. The tones in the collection are generally quite muted though, and it is an interesting challenge to decide what to create with such a limited palette. I was gifted the 12 pencil set, but even in the full 24 pencil range, there is no yellow, and the Midnight Black is a dark grey at best when diluted.

To give you an example, I thought I’d do a quick sketch:

 

I really love being able to build up the colour slowly with the pencil, then using a barely damp brush to soften and intensify the colour. I used a Zig water brush (available here )  to wet the pencil, and then once dry, I went back over with more pencil strokes layered on top for additional texture. Here is the finished quick sketch:

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Finished!

If I had more time, I’d break out my other watercolour pencils or paints and add some gold to the eyes and white to the fur. For larger pieces, or more detailed work, try creating a paper palette for yourself. By sketching a block of colour onto a scrap of paper, you can use your water brush or damp paintbrush to pick up the colour as though it was a solid pan of watercolour. This gives you more pigment on the brush, and the option of using a small brush to add very fine details. For the most intense colour, run a damp brush across the nib of the pencil itself.

If you fancy having a go with these pencils, I’d highly recommend them! Grab yourself a set from here or your local art store. Have you used these before? What do you think? I”d love to see your creations in the comments below.

 

Altruistic Acts of Art

I love how Twitter is such a great source of inspiration and unexpected interaction for me. I have been lucky enough to connect with several artists across the globe since starting my website and being able to see their work and discuss their ideas is invaluable.

One such inspiring tweet caught my eye the other week, from a guy called David Smith. He is making an open plea for artists to send him a 4″x4″ artwork (in any medium) to form part of a larger collaborative artwork that he will create in November. The working title is “Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic”.

In David’s own words: “There is no higher purpose, no charitable intent, other than to create an interesting piece of art that is influenced by the chaos of multiple artists. I do not promise that your work will be used and if it is used it may not be obviously visible (those of you who know my work know that the work is often unseen!) When you send or deliver a piece you pass all physical and intellectual property rights to it as an object or idea over to me to use in any way that I see fit. Yes, I am asking you to make a small gift to me of your work with no chance of anything in return except the satisfaction that you will have played a small part in a web of art.

I really love this concept and will be sending him three squares very soon. They may be used, they may not, and it doesn’t matter. Sometimes the act of creating and gifting a piece of your creativity to someone is reward enough. However David decides to use the artwork he is sent by everyone, it’s sure to be  interesting piece and I’ll be looking forward to seeing the finished result when the artwork is completed.

For further details on how to take part, check out David’s website

The three squares that I have painted are different, yet connected. The theme “Black Lines, Black Squares, Black Magic” immediately makes me want to paint the reverse, but after some thought I settled on a strong orange background and painted a Runic square, a Celtic square and a slightly abstract square.

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Runic Square

For those of you that don’t know runes (I didn’t), I’ve chosen four and painted them in a repeating pattern. They are as follows:
Thurisaz (pronounced Thoor-ee-sawz) Symbolic of Magic, Chaos, Temptation, Protection, Focused power
Berkarun (pronounced Bear-khan-awn) Symbolic of Female Energy, Earth, Fertility, Growth, Mother Goddess
Sowilo (pronounced Soh-veal-oh) Symbolic of Energy and Revelation, Good Fortune, Positivity and Success
Gebo (pronounced Ghay-bow) Symbolic of a Gift, Love, Partnership, Forgiveness, Marriage and more simply – a kiss.

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Celtic Square

The Celtic square is self-explanatory and the Abstract square is open to interpretation. Is it a shell on a beach with a curling wave? A ram? Or something more sinister?
You decide.

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Abstract Square